Business sustainability has come a long way, but problems such as climate change, water scarcity, species extinction, and many others continue to worsen. Fresh thought leadership from Andrew Hoffman at the Erb Institute is pivoting the thinking on how companies can and will create market shifts that will enable new forms of business sustainability. Sustainability 1.0 supported a “greening of the market.” However worthwhile, these measures will “not actually solve the root problems it was meant to address. Our world continues to become less, not more, sustainable.”

Sustainability 2.0 is next phase of business sustainability. This phase is a call for a transformation of how businesses operate, “discarding such outdated notions as treating the environment as a limitless source of materials and sink for waste, seeing economic value as the only measure of nature’s worth, encouraging unbridled consumption, and considering perpetual economic growth as even possible.”

How will this happen? First, corporations need to rethink their business strategies to play a stronger role in guiding the sustainability of the systems of which they are a part. Second, the business model itself will undergo reconceptualization. Market transformation not only compels more systemic business strategies but also challenges traditional ways of conceiving business itself. It demands new conceptions of corporate purpose, notions of consumption, and models and metrics of business success.

Link to the full article in SSIR here

The era of corporations integrating sustainable practices is being surpassed by a new age of corporations actively transforming the market to make it more sustainable.

Article authored by Andrew Hoffman, Erb Institute | Business for Sustainability.  Published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Spring 2018.

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